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The Weight of a Human Heart

by Ryan O'Neill

Reading these short stories is like watching a skilled juggler. Expect deft surprises: a word search, English lesson exercises, calligram and digression. Quirky, experimental stories are interspersed with more conventional short stories. Not afraid to broach serious subjects - genocide, broken relationships, dementia, these stories offer a heart-touching glimpse into the human condition.

Extract

I wasn't surprised when my mother killed me. The first time was a plane crash, the second I was burned alive, and the third was a swimming pool drowning. Even the critics took notice, with the Sydney Morning Herald, in its review of A Serpent's Tooth ('In just two collections, Hately has become our foremost short-story writer') wondering at the number of young women dying in her stories. It was uncomfortable visiting home around this time, thinking that even as she made small talk, or made lunch, my mother might be planning another murder.

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